The Pasco City Council is preparing to vote on a new plan for its downtown area.
The council heard a presentation this week from Michael Goins, executive director of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority, on the agency's new work plan.
The plan was based on a study conducted by E.D. Hovee & Company LLC of Vancouver, Wash., which interviewed 15 business owners and others expressing interest in downtown improvements.
Part of the plan involves expanding what is considered the downtown area, Goins said.
The downtown development authority works with 110 acres met by Bonneville Street in the north, Columbia and A streets to the south, to the west by 14th Avenue and to the east by Tacoma Avenue and the rail yard. The study, however, included areas all the way to Interstate 182 in the north and Highway 395 in the west. That 598-acre area includes major employers like Lourdes Medical Center, city hall and the Franklin County Courthouse.
The additional area would also offset parts of downtown that are being demolished to make way for the planned Lewis Street Overpass over the railroad tracks, Goins said.
"That should be noted as an area of opportunity," Goins said.
The study shows an aging group of buildings downtown, with 59 percent built between 1940 and 1960. Only 34 of 1,791 buildings in the greater downtown area -- less than 2 percent -- were built after 2000.
The study calls for mixed use development, with businesses on the first floor and apartments upstairs, to be built downtown within five years, saying new residential and non-residential buildings, as well as rehabilitating old buildings, will be a sign of new vitality downtown.
The downtown plan aims to create interest in the area, Mayor Matt Watkins said.
Councilman Al Yenney hoped that changes could be made to zoning downtown to speed up the process of bringing in new business.
"We need to open up our area a little more to bring people in," he said.
A vote on the plan is expected at the council's Monday meeting.
Goins also announced that Pasco Dutch Bros. locations will donate proceeds from Friday's sales to clean up downtown Pasco. The donations will be made on sales of coffee and other drinks between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. at the locations at 6609 Burden Blvd. and 2601 W. Court St.
Also, this week, the council discussed naming Vijay Patel, owner of the Holiday Inn Express near TRAC, to the Regional Hotel/Motel Commission. His appointment is expected to be approved next week.